Good news for Pebble; gasoline still reigns supreme; Dem v Dem

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EPA walks back restriction that loomed over Pebble mine, paving the way for key permit
Elwood Brehmer, ADN, July 30, 2019

EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick on Tuesday signed a 28-page notice at the direction of agency leaders that formally removes the agency’s proposed “preemptive veto” that loomed over the Pebble project since it was initiated under former President Barack Obama’s administration in 2014.
The move was applauded by Pebble supporters and criticized by opponents.
Pebble CEO Tom Collier said in an interview that, “This is a good day for Pebble. It’s a day I wish had happened much sooner, but it’s a good day for Pebble.”

Our take: Good on the EPA and good for Pebble. The Alliance continues to advocate for a fair and defined permitting process for all resource development projects, and it is refreshing to see the EPA finally agree. Hopefully, this development sends a message that Alaska is, in fact, open for business.


Why energy companies are still investing gasoline in the age of the electric vehicle
Marissa Luck, Houston Chronicle, July 30, 2019

As Shell’s largest research and development center, the 200-acre Houston campus has 1,500 employees and hundreds of contractors. They’re working on everything from formulating new biodiesel to advancing liquefied natural gas into transportation fuels. Their research also extends into something more tangible in the near term: how to improve gasoline.
Even as Shell opens hydrogen-fuel filling stations in California, invests millions of dollars in electric vehicle startups and develops biofuels, it is still pouring billions in research for advancing its core product, fossil fuels. Shell and other oil companies, such as Exxon Mobil and BP, are investing in clean technologies — and launching public relations campaigns to tout their initiatives — but their fortunes are still tied to traditional cars and the billions of people that drive them.
While automakers such as Ford, Volkswagen and GM boost electric vehicle production, EVs still lag behind traditional cars. There were about 1.1 million electric cars on American roadways in last year, up 361,0000 from the previous year, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. But overall electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids still accounted for less than 2 percent of the U.S. auto market, according to the IEA.
“We put a lot of focus on time and effort around gasoline vehicles because still the majority of people who are on the road today are going to be in gasoline (powered car),” said Shannon Bryan, North America fuels manager at Shell.

Related: EV tax credit fight sparks lobbying frenzy


Appropriators seek answers on proposed BLM move
Kellie Lunney and Geof Koss, E&E News, July 31, 2019

Senate appropriators want more details about the Trump administration’s proposed relocation of hundreds of Bureau of Land Management jobs from Washington, D.C., to several Western states.
Murkowski said she has some “just basic questions that we need to run through” about Bernhardt’s plan, which she has already indicated support for.
“I’ve always felt that the closer we can get our public lands managers to our public lands that they are managing, the better off we should be,” the chairwoman said.
Of the 550 positions the department studied for its relocation proposal, 60 would stay in the Washington area, including jobs related to budget, legislative affairs and regulatory issues.


‘That is criminal activity.’ Dems clash on scope of action
Mark K Matthews, E&E News, July 31, 2019

Climate change turned into a flashpoint at last night’s Democratic debate when most of the 10 candidates jumped into an argument about the best way to fight rising temperatures without wrecking the American economy.
“As we transition to this clean energy economy, you have got to recognize there are folks that have spent their whole life powering our country,” Bullock said. “And far too often Democrats sound like they’re part of the problem.”

Our take: Bullock seems to be the only one in the Dem v Dem squabble to understand the key issue underlying the Green New Deal and its fantasy policies. Large energy companies are already making considerable investments in renewable energy; undermining them and their workforce just throws up roadblocks.